Jewish-American Fiction Major Figures - Essay

Major Figures

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Marvin Mudrick

SOURCE: "Malamud, Bellow, and Roth," in On Culture and Literature, Horizon Press, 1970, pp. 200-233.

[In the following essay, which was originally published in 1966, Mudrick considers the early works of Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, and Philip Roth as attempts to define the twentieth-century American Jew in fiction.]

Malamud, Bellow, and Roth have taken upon themselves the job of inventing the contemporary fictional Jew. In contemporary America, where Jewishness has been more and more rapidly converging into the WASP matrix of neutral pristine affluence, the job is almost anachronistic, almost archeology, like setting up a...

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